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About face covering requirements

People at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are required to wear face coverings based on Federal Security Directive 1542-21-01 (Feb 1, 2021). Additional regulations were previously enacted by executive order by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and the Metropolitan Airports Commission board in 2020. Where these sources conflict, the stricter requirement applies. Here’s what you need to know.1

What type of face covering is required?

A face covering can include a paper or disposable mask, cloth mask, neck gaiter, scarf, bandanna, or a religious face covering. A face covering must cover the mouth and nose completely.  

Any masks that incorporate a valve that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow droplets to be released from the mask.  Face shields are not considered an appropriate face covering, although shields can be worn in addition to a mask.

Refer to the following resources for additional guidance and tips on how to wear a face covering:

Where must individuals wear a face covering at MSP?

Individuals must wear a mask at all times in or on the MSP Airport property. This includes terminals, parking ramps, shuttle buses, trams, ride-share vehicles, taxis, or other public transportation vehicles. People are also required to wear face coverings on all outside premises of the airport.

Are there exemptions from these regulations?

Yes, exemptions include: 

  • When necessary to temporarily remove the mask for identity verification purposes.
  • While actively eating, drinking or taking oral medications for brief periods.
  • Children who are under the age of 2.
  • Any individual who is deaf and relies upon the use of facial and/or mouth movements to communicate and those individuals who rely upon the same to communicate with such an individual.
  • People with disabilities who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).
  • People for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.
  • While inside a personal vehicle operated solely for personal, non-commercial use.

What is the penalty for not wearing a face covering?

Face coverings, along with other preventative measures, such as social distancing and hand hygiene, have proven effective in reducing spread of COVID-19 according to public health experts. It’s expected that citizens will comply with these regulations to benefit the safety of those working, visiting or traveling through the airport, as well as those in the communities we live in. Under the Federal Security Directive 1542-21-01, failure to comply may result in removal from the airport.  Refusing to wear a mask in or on the airport is a violation of federal law and individuals could face civil penalties. Anyone failing to comply with the airport’s face covering regulation is subject to prosecution and may be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Does the airport provide face coverings for travelers?

MSP offers free face coverings at information booths.  Face coverings may also be available at airline check-in counters and TSA checkpoints. There are also several retail stores and vending machines that sell face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and other personal protective items.

Are there other face covering regulations in effect at MSP?

Federal law requires that individuals must wear masks on all commercial aircraft flights to and from MSP, and on all forms of public transportation, including bus, shuttle and train services to and from the airport. In addition, all occupants of taxis and app-based ride service vehicles must wear a mask while on airport property.

The guidelines provided are intended for convenience only. The information is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you have any questions or concerns. Notwithstanding anything stated herein, the requirements contained in the sources of law apply.